Twitter no place for targeted abuse or harassment: Global VP Matthew Derella

Twitter Global VP Matthew Derella said that the company is using a combination of machine learning and human moderators to curb harassment.

  • Published: February 16, 2018 11:07 AM IST

One of the most pressing issues gripping social media today is the surge in online harassment. Twitter, which repeatedly hits the news over taking down one account or the other, is equally plagued by the menace of malicious users troubling others on the platform. For Twitter, the focus has and will remain cutting down on targeted abuse and harassment. The company’s Global Vice President Matthew Derella has reiterated the company’s efforts in this direction.

In a recent interview with ET, Derella is quoted as saying,”We want to inform people and we want people to participate in open conversations, but there is no place in that openness for targeted abuse or harassment. Changes in products and policies and the data reflect how seriously we are looking at it.”

Compared to 2016, Twitter has taken down 10 times the number of accounts last year. This follows the company’s recent tweak in policies. However, Derella believes more needs to be done in order to curb the menace. He further explained that Twitter is using a combination of machine learning algorithm and human moderators (similar to how Facebook tackles the spread of fake news), to keep the platform free and safe from abusers.

The combination of technology and human beings will “review, act and make sure that we are in an environment where people can have civil discourse around important issues,” Derella is quoted as saying.

In its November update to the policies, Twitter focused measures to thwart abusive behavior of users on the platform. The company said that determining tweets as abusive is crucial. Twitter further revised its own definitions of terms including non-consensual nudity, and updated policies such as notifying abusive accounts, users awareness, and abuse and hateful conduct policies among others.

Derella also talked about the company’s India plans. Recently, the company introduced the Twitter Lite app to suit the erratic network connections in the country. It is also looking at expanding its sales and engineering talent in India as it looks at driving growth in the Asia Pacific region which contributes more than half of its total revenues.

Outside of the US, the company witnessed 17 percent revenue growth during the last quarter and Derella hinted the growth to continue in 2018. He said that non-US market is what the company is looking at investing in. “This is the market which will grow and we are looking to invest and really bring the best of Twitter to all the people in India,” he said, adding that there couldn’t be a better time with the general elections coming in 2019.

Twitter Seva, which is another India-first model after Twitter Lite, has worked well. Derella said that the company plans to further expand such models to other countries. He said that Twitter Seva, which is in collaboration with government departments for citizen engagement has been a global success and the company is planning to expand it to other countries.

  • Published Date: February 16, 2018 11:07 AM IST